the alpines – Minimal sound but maximal emotion

Alpines, a duo formed by Catherine Pockson and Bob Matthew, are a band that belong front and centre in the British pop consciousness. They’ve made fans out of The xx, The Maccabees and Florence Welch for good reason. ‘Completely’ is certainly one of their finest singles yet and it shows, more than anything, a duo that bleed pure boundless creativity. In the new single, Alpines have taken a decisive step towards a more experimental and sophisticated sound. Their music has always eschewed typical generic classifications, but in ‘Completely’ they manage to toe the delicate balance between commercial melodic sensibilities on the one hand (with big, bold and relatable vocals), and cerebral leftfield sounds on the other. Alpines are also no strangers where the convergence of music and fashion is concerned having collaborated with All Saints, Paul Smith, Urban Outfitters, Madame Figaro Magazine. We sat with them to talk music with another uniquely spacious and poignant ambient song and of course, their cutting-edge style.

Why the name Alpines?
We both love the mountains. One of our first writing road trips was to the Alps and shortly after this we decided on the name. Also ‘Alpines’ are tiny flowers that live in the highest reaches of the mountain tops and are incredibly hardy as they can survive through extreme conditions. We we really drawn to this symbolism and that’s when we decided we should go with the name.

Your music is influenced by…?
Every musician and song we love. Those around us that we love and landscapes.

Your music icons?
Bob: Brian Eno and D’Angelo
Catherine: Prince and Erykah Badu
Your favourite song of all time?
Bob: ‘Something’ by The Beatles
Catherine: ‘Blowing In The Wind’ by Bob Dylan and ‘When Doves Cry’ by Prince

The good and the bad things about being a duo are:
There are so many good things, but notably, you always have a sounding board and it means you can keep momentum and drive things forward. We are so lucky that between the two of us we can create the whole world of the sound and visuals. It does mean we work really hard and aren’t great at taking time off or holidays. The only bad thing is sometimes it can get very intense just having two of us in the band, but that’s why it is great playing live because we have our keys player and drummer to diffuse the dynamic!

Can you tell us about your style? How much effort do you put into your images? (brands that you like, specific style inspiration you follow)
I suppose our style could be defined in simple terms as minimal, textural and structured. At the moment we aren’t incorporating lots of colour, it is more about silhouette, strong lines and print patterns. We think about the visual side of the band a lot. We want the imagery to go hand in hand with the sonics, so that they compliment each other. When writing the album we had a pin board in the studio which included lots of images of the desert landscape, bauhaus architecture, Mies Van Der Rohe buildings, Alexander McQueen collections, artwork by Pierre Soulages and photos by Ansel Adams and many more! We are inspired by all elements of the arts and moodboards have become an important part of developing our sound and style.

Pick among your tracks the ones you would suggest for different occasions, what do they make you think ok? (e.g. one makes you think about love, hope, etc…)
Completely – This is our latest single and I would play this driving on a night out, its about embracing the truth of a situation and letting yourself be completely vulnerable with someone.

No Other Lover – this is one I would play to get people dancing.

Oasis – This is one I would play in the summertime as the sun was going down and all my friends were around a pool drinking cocktails and having a good time.

Chances – This is the one I would play at the end of the night once everyone has gone home, it has a moodiness to it. It is about taking a risk to be with someone knowing it may be unrequited. We also love Cyril Hahn’s remix of the song too.

Saviour – This song is about hope and the acceptance of needing someone to help you through the hard times.

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